Drew Barrymore and Justin Long

In 1982, Hollywood starlet Drew Barrymore won over moviegoers as Gertie, one of the young stars of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Since then, she has starred in and produced blockbuster hits such as Charlie's Angels and Never Been Kissed. Her movies have grossed nearly $2 billion worldwide.

Unlike some child stars, Drew continues to find personal and professional fulfillment in her 30s. This CoverGirl spokeswoman has four films on the horizon and a new man in her life, actor Justin Long. Drew says Justin isn't just a boyfriend, he's a best friend.

"At some point, you decide who you want to be," she says. "You grow up. You make different choices and changes in your life. This relationship is great. It's healthy, it's productive, and it's supportive. It's full of humor and a lot of fun."

Justin says there's more to Drew than a beautiful face and sense of humor. "She's the most compassionate person I've ever met," he says.
Drew Barrymore

Drew says she has been passionate about philanthropy for years, but when she turned 30, she realized she wanted to do something that spoke to her heart. "I didn't want to just do it for the sake of doing," she says.

Soon after her birthday, Drew read something in The New York Times that inspired her to take action. The article discussed African school feeding programs funded by the World Food Program (WFP), the world's frontline organization in the fight against hunger. Every year, this United Nations agency helps feed more than 70 million people in nearly 80 of the world's poorest countries.

After learning more about the WFP, Drew says she called the United Nations and volunteered to go on a mission. In 2005, she made her first humanitarian trip to Nairobi, Kenya, where she toured impoverished slums and met starving children. Drew joined the fight against hunger, and in 2007, she returned to Kenya to see the school feeding programs in action. 

See photos of Drew's humanitarian mission.

"It was a life-altering journey that humbled me to the core," she says. "We fed thousands of children who wanted just two simple things—one meal a day and the chance to learn. ... I witnessed how just a little bit can make all the difference."
Drew Barrymore and Oprah

After working with the World Food Program for two years, Drew was asked by the United Nations to be an Ambassador Against Hunger. "Working with them for the last few years has really, really changed me," she says. "I found the thing that I love working with."

Drew says she continues to be inspired by the people she works with around the world. "I feel like their student," she says. "I go on their missions, I film it, I document it, and I learn about it. I've learned what's important."

During her travels, Drew says the most important thing she's learned is that food is the basis for everything. "I didn't understand that in order to take the AIDS vaccination medicine, you have to have the food for your system to handle the pills," she says.

Malnourishment also effects a child's education. According to the United Nations, 59 million children around the world go to school hungry every day. "These children have such a capacity to learn when they're nourished with these cups of foods," Drew says. "It's unacceptable that they don't have these opportunities, and it takes so little to change their lives."
Drew Barrymore gives a donation to Josette Sheeran from the World Food Program.

Josette Sheeran, executive director of the WFP, says the world is in the midst of an international food crisis. Without proper funding, she says she fears her agency won't be able to meet the needs of starving families. "Every six seconds, we lose a child to hunger," she says. "The crazy thing is, we don't need a new scientific breakthrough to end this."

The WFP says in order to make sure no child goes to school hungry, they need $3 billion. "That's not a permanent $3 billion because communities take over the program all the time," Josette says. "Last year, Jordan and Morocco took full control of the program. It's not permanent giving."

To jump-start the donations, Drew presents Josette with a $1 million check! Though most people can't give this big, Drew says you can change a child's life for as little as 25 cents a day.

"I know it's important to act locally, but think globally," she says. "Ninety-three percent of it goes directly into these children's hands and gives them the chance at having a future. ... I'm able to make this incredible donation. This has changed my life, but I encourage everyone to give [what they can]."
Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz

The surprises don't stop there! An unexpected caller phones Oprah's control room to reveal how she was inspired by Drew's generosity. Who's on the other line? It's actress Cameron Diaz calling from a film set in Los Angeles.

"I've been listening to the show, and I'm choked up because I'm just so proud of Drew," Cameron says. "I'm so proud of this information that she's giving the world. ... It's unprecedented where we're at in the world right now learning about how our children are living in the world. It's devastating, and the truth that is being spoken there is so important for people to hear."

"That's my best friend, man," Drew says.

How to donate to the World Food Program

See who else gave big on Oprah's Big Give